Overdraft fees are big business, which is why it’s important to make sure you utilize one of the banks with no overdraft fees to save yourself from potential fees.
These fees have dwindled in recent years, due to consumer outcry, government scrutiny, and fintech competition. But still, in 2022 alone, consumers still shelled out more than $7.7 billion in NSF fees. Unfortunately, consumer mishaps are a big revenue stream for financiers.
Double and triple-checking your balance can help prevent them, or you can avoid them altogether by banking at an institution that doesn’t charge these fees in the first place.
8 Best Checking Accounts with No Overdraft Fees
Here are eight no-overdraft fee banking options for you to consider.
- Capital One 360 Checking® Account
- Ally Interest Checking Account
- Discover Cashback Debit Account
- Axos Bank Rewards Checking
- Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking
- Wealthfront Cash Account
- Citi Access Checking
- Truist Bank
1. Capital One 360 Checking® Account
The Capital One 360 Checking account charges no overdraft fees or non-sufficient fund fees.
The 360 Checking account has no minimum deposit requirements, no monthly service fees, and balances earn a 0.10% APY. Additionally, there are no foreign transaction fees and you can access your payroll direct deposit up to two days early.
On the flip side, there are limited Capital One bank branches in the US and Capital One will not reimburse out-of-network ATM fees. Physical locations are in Texas, Louisiana, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington D.C. There are, however, over 70,000 free ATMS nationwide that you can access.
2. Ally Spending Account
The Ally Spending account, formerly branded as the Ally Interest Checking Account, is a free online checking account with no overdraft fees.
It offers early direct deposit, 43,000 AllPoint ATMs, and reimburses other out-of-network ATM fees up to $10 a month. Additionally, there are no minimum deposit or minimum daily balance requirements.
If you do wish to make an opening deposit, it could take two to three business days to set up and connect an external account from which to transfer funds.
The Ally Spending account offers interest rates tiered based on account balance:
- 0.10% APY for balances under $15,000
- 0.25% APY for balances of $15,000 or more
3. Discover Cashback Debit Account
Discover offers a free checking account with no monthly maintenance fees, and no minimum opening deposit or balance requirements. Discover does not charge for its overdraft protection.
If your account balance falls below $0, Discover will automatically transfer funds from a linked savings account, or money market account (MMA).
This linked line of coverage is extended specifically to spot you for ACH, check, or bill pay transactions. Discover will not cover you for in-store purchases or debit card transactions, but you will get an overdraft alert and you will not be charged a bank fee for the overdrawn account.
Additionally, there are other rewards that come with your fee-free Discover checking account. This includes a large, fee-free ATM network of over 60,000 Allpoint and MoneyPass ATMs and 1% cash back on your debit card purchases — up to $3,000 each month.
4. Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Axos Bank is an online bank that offers several different checking account options. A $50 minimum opening deposit is required, but there are no minimum balance requirements and no overdraft fees.
With its standard overdraft protection program, your account is covered by a linked savings account. With no transfer fee, Axos will transfer available funds from your savings to your checking in order to cover these items.
Qualifying consumers can also apply for an overdraft line of credit. This credit line gives you an advance on your checking account to cover any overdraft fees. There’s no per-item fee to access this credit line, but you will pay an 18% annual interest rate on your account’s daily average balance.
5. Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking
Alliant Credit Union offers a free checking account with no overdraft charges or non-sufficient funds fees.
Alliant’s overdraft protection is optional, but you can enroll in this program and Alliant will automatically transfer money from your savings to your checking account to avoid any NSF fees. This overdraft service does not apply to ATM withdrawals though.
Alliant customers can earn 0.25% on their checking account balance of any amount and access a network of over 80,000 free ATMs.
6. Wealthfront Cash Account
Wealthfront charges no account fee, no overdraft fees, and the ability to earn an APY of up to 4.80%. Any linked savings account can provide overdraft coverage. The overdraft transfer service is offered free.
Wealthfront is an automated investment service and not a bank. It spreads out your deposits or investments across up to twenty banks, and your funds are FDIC insured up to $5 million.
While Wealthfront itself isn’t FDIC-insured, its partner banks are. Each one offers FDIC coverage of up to $250K per account per customer. These partner banks include Wells Fargo, HSBC Bank, Truist Bank, Citibank, and Discover Bank.
7. Citi Access Checking
Citibank was one of the first major banks to eliminate overdraft charges, returned items, and overdraft protection fees. While rival Chase Bank charges $34 per NSF, Citi did away with these charges in June of 2022.
Any debit card transaction that overdraws your Citi Access account, or puts it at risk for being overdrawn, will be declined. Additionally, overdraft protection is available at no charge with a linked Citi savings account or money market account (MMA).
There is a monthly fee of $5, but it can be waived after three months or for meeting Citi’s direct deposit requirements.
A Citi account gives you access to over 600 physical branches throughout the country, which is relatively small compared to other banks, and it charges a $2.50 fee for using any out-of-network ATM.
Additionally, Citi Access Checking accounts do not offer paper checks.
8. Truist Bank
A Truist Bank checking account is another solid option for an NSF-free account. Truist is a top ten bank in the United States for size, although lesser known than other large institutions. Truist is a newer name on the finance scene, created when Bank Branch and Trust Company (BB&T) and SunTrust Banks merged in 2019.
There is a minimum $50 deposit required to open an account and a $12 monthly service fee, but there are many easy ways to get it waived:
- Maintain a balance of at least $500 across all Truist accounts
- Monthly direct deposit of at least $500
- Hold a Truist mortgage or credit card
- Link to an eligible account
- Be a student under the age of 25
Truist offers members a tiered system of benefits based on their average monthly account balance. It also has over 2,000 branches and 3,000 ATMs across – but in the Southeast region. Other consumers will have to pay ATM fees for cash withdrawals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Get Overdraft Fees Waived?
In some instances, yes. Contact your bank and ask them if they’ll waive the fee. You can stop by a branch location, call, or place a request online or in the bank mobile app.
Typically, calling customer service will be your best line of defense. Call the main number listed on the bank of your debit card and talk to an agent.
“I’m calling today about an overdraft fee I received on December due to insufficient funds. I’d like for that fee to be reversed.”
The rep will request personal information and pull up your account. If you regularly have overdraft or NSF fees, they might not be willing or able to waive any. But if this is something you rarely have or this is your first one, they are often willing to adjust the fee as a courtesy.
Beware that when you call in regarding overdraft fees some banks, like Bank of America (BOA)or Wells Fargo, will take this as an opportunity to upsell you on other products.
BOA has a program that charges a $12 fee for a transfer of funds from another account to cover the overdraft. Wells Fargo shepherds customers toward a Wells Fargo credit card for overdraft protection.
How can you avoid overdraft fees?
In most cases, overdraft fees are avoidable. Consumers can avoid these fees by using some easy measures.
- Set up direct deposit. This will minimize or eliminate any monthly banking fees and will give you quicker access to your paycheck than a paper check.
- Monitor your balance. Keep track of your debit card transactions, bill payments, and recurring monthly payments. While very few of us carry a checking ledger these days, you can call your bank or log online 24 hours a day to view your balance. Keep in mind the balance you view may not reflect any pending transactions.
- Set up low-balance alerts. Many banks will let you get email or SMS alerts when your balance drops below a certain threshold.
- Keep an extra cushion of money in your checking account. Keep an extra $100 in there that you never spend just to be safe.
- Open a savings account that you can link to your checking account to be a line of credit in the event of an accidental overdraft. And check with your bank on what terms apply for you to link that savings account to your checking.
- Look into getting a credit card with your bank. It may make sense for you to have a bank credit card linked to your checking account that you can use just in case you accidentally overdraft your account.
- If possible, “opt out” of overdraft protection. That term is a misnomer because it’s not protecting you. The bank is asking for your permission to charge you an NSF fee. Due to how it’s marketed, most consumers “opt-in” so that their transaction will be “spotted” if their account is short, but this is a bad idea. One overdraft can lead to a cascade of other overdrafts and lead your account to cycle from a negative balance to a $0 balance (with your paycheck deposited).
- Change banks or financial institutions. Varo Bank, Chime, and Betterment are just a few alternate checking account options that charge no NSF fees.
How Much Do Banks Allow an Account to Overdraft?
The amount will depend on your bank and the usual daily balance of your account. If you commonly have $4,000 in your account, your bank may allow your account to overdraft up to $400.
FDIC guidance says banks should help consumers minimize excessive overdrafts. If more than six fee-incurring overdrafts happen within one year, the financial institution should take meaningful action to help the customer avoid future NSFs.
This could mean eliminating “overdraft protection” so that debit card transactions are declined when you have an insufficient account balance.
Do overdrafts affect your credit score?
Overdrafts are not directly reported to the credit bureaus, but if the overdraft fee is not repaid in a timely manner and goes to collections, then it could be reported to the bureaus and ding your score. Here, your bank account would also be forcibly closed and you may have future problems with bankability.
There are other indirect ways an overdraft can hurt your score. If your automatic bill pay for your Mastercard or student loans is returned due to insufficient funds, that late payment will be reported to the credit bureaus if you cannot catch the error and make the payment within 30 days of the due date.
How Many Times Will My Bank Let Me Overdraft?
It depends on the bank. Most will let you accrue 3 to 6 overdraft fees per day, and some may allow as many as 10 to 12. Yikes.
If you find yourself with multiple overdraft fees in a day, bring your account current as soon as possible. And then put any measure in place you can to prevent any future overdrafts from occurring, switching banks if you must.
A $30 overdraft fee may seem like a drop in the hat, but that’s anything but. If you incur that fee once, you’re likely to be dinged the same amount again and again. Ten overdrafts a year are $300.
Beyond being a personal finance nightmare, it’s a poor banking experience when the institution relies on consumer error as a major revenue stream.
There are many financial institutions, from fintech companies to brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions, that don’t charge their customers NSF fees or offer free and easy ways for you to avoid them. If your bank does assess overdraft fees, we’ve shared with you eight solid no-fee options for you to consider.